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England v Pakistan

‘He looks like a lost cow’ – Shoaib Akhtar slams Babar Azam for ‘confused’ captaincy

Babar Akhtar
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former Pakistan quick Shoaib Akhtar has slammed incumbent T20I captain Babar Azam for his unassertive decision making during Pakistan’s loss to England in the second T20I, saying that he needs to start taking decisions on his own without external help.

Babar, who was made Pakistan’s T20I captain last year, copped flak from Akhtar after suffering his third loss in seven games as skipper, with England chasing down 196 in 19.1 overs in Manchester, their highest-successful T20I chase against Pakistan.

“Babar Azam looks like a lost cow to me,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel. “He is out there, not knowing what to do. It is important for him to take decisions on his own so that it could help him become a better captain in the coming times. There are instructions coming from outside for him, there are three people on the field who are trying to help him. Babar will need to understand that the chances coming his way, but it’s not going to happen for the rest of his life, so he needs to capitalise on it as much as he can, and emerge as a big brand.”

He went on to criticise Babar’s strike-rate, saying that the captain should have accelerated more after fellow opener Fakhar Zaman’s dismissal, taking examples from the English batting line-up to suggest that the Pakistan batting doesn’t look “commanding”.

“Talking about his strike-rate issue – he plays from 127 to 130-135, he can accelerate. I agree Fakhar Zaman is playing quickly, you don’t need to [accelerate]. But when Zaman got out, you need to play at your own strike-rate, like Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow play, they look commanding. Our players look scared. Don’t see any strength.”

Akhtar further criticised the management for not having “a set plan”, as well as the “confusing” selection, saying that there needs to be the dual motive of building the team for the future and winning the ongoing series.

“Misbah is sitting with his hands on his head, he’s beating his head, I can understand his frustration,” Akthar said. “Until we give Babar Azam the liberty as captain … Pakistan team are playing in a bio ‘insecure’ bubble, where each player is insecure. No one has an idea about whether they want to stay as captain or become a good brand.

“Confused selection, confused management, confused captain, confused team and confusion of everything. Teams are not made like this. Play with a set plan.”

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